For about a decade, the Cayuga Economic Development Agency (CEDA) has been providing businesses and entrepreneurs with easy access to all of the information, incentives, and resources needed to start or grow in Cayuga County. In the past three years, CEDA has worked with 349 existing businesses and 167 entrepreneurs. These activities have resulted in 20 business expansion and startup projects assisted with financial incentives, which have committed to investing $199m and creating 480 jobs, and 48 new businesses opened that have created at least 97 new jobs.

In addition to our typical business visitation activities, CEDA has carried on a broad array of programming in recent years. We continue to pursue various marketing efforts to build awareness about CEDA’s services and doing business in Cayuga County both locally and for business attraction purposes. These efforts include collaborations with The Citizen, social media campaigns, Google ad campaigns with FLX Digital, website upgrades, video production, and more. We have also been offering more educational programming and networking opportunities. Much of our programming is done in collaboration with community partners. For instance, CEDA worked has worked with SCORE Auburn on entrepreneurial programming, like Start Up Connect networking events and business planning seminars. CEDA has also worked with partners like Cayuga Works, Cayuga Community College, Empire State Development, and NYS Office of General Services to host educational seminars and webinars about resources available to help our businesses grow and succeed.

In recent years, the CEDA team has also been involved in a number of noteworthy projects and initiatives. Most recently, our response to COVID has been extensive and has helped to get over $325,000 in funding into the hands of Cayuga County businesses through local loan and grant programs. That is in addition to assisting businesses with navigating various state and federal financial resources. Further, some projects that have come to fruition or been initiated in the contract term have been holistic wins for Cayuga County as a community. Projects like Page Transportation’s expansion, Tessy’s testing project, and Prison City’s new brewing facility have had even more of an economic development impact than the traditional outcomes of increased jobs and tax revenue. Each of these projects also brings broader community impacts ranging from new workforce training opportunities to good community PR.  For example, DuMond Ag’s soybean processing facility not only created over 30 jobs and additional taxable property value, but it also services the agricultural industry of Cayuga County in a holistic way. The facility both increases the price that local farmers can get for their soy and decreases the price of protein for cows for dairy farmers. This project will help to sustain multiple agricultural businesses throughout the county for years to come. CEDA assisted DuMond in their business planning for this expansion, as well as in accessing grants and tax credits that helped to fill a financing gap for the project.

Looking into the future, CEDA plans to expand upon our attraction and marketing work, as well as work collaboratively with community partners to align and coordinate workforce development efforts. CEDA is currently working with the Auburn IDA on a place-based branding initiative to aid in business and talent attraction, as well as with the City of Auburn to establish a microenterprise program that will assist a selection of asset-limited entrepreneurs and small business owners in Auburn and provide educational opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Cayuga County. We will also work to build better networks in the northern and southern parts of the county by increasing our presence and direct outreach there. To start expanding these networks more, one of our Specialists will be offering one-on-one business advisement sessions at the Sterling Town Office on October 27 from 1-4pm and at the Town of Moravia Town Hall on November 10 from 1-4pm. If you own a business or are thinking about starting one, this is an opportunity to have a free and confidential conversation about next steps, resources, and partnerships that may be of assistance. We recommend calling ahead to make an appointment, but walk-ins are welcome as well. If you aren’t available one of those days, feel free to call our office to set up a meeting for another day. You can reach our office at 315-252-3500.

Our team is truly passionate about this community and the work we are doing to assist the business community. We look forward to continuing our work in supporting and growing our local economy.

Tracy Verrier is the executive director of the Cayuga Economic Development Agency.
Published in the October 22, 2020, edition of The Citizen.